Petronet Sees India’s LNG Imports Rising Dramatically

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Petronet sees LNG imports meeting over 70% of Indian gas demand by the end of this decade, up from 55% now, which would require a massive scale-up of import infrastructure. India is already the world's fourth-largest LNG importer (see graph). India’s gas demand is set to rise fourfold to 172 million tons per year (or about 620 million cubic meters a day) by 2030, Petronet’s Managing Director Akshay Kumar Singh said at an industry conference Thursday (LNGI Feb.9'21). The growth is intended to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of raising the share of natural gas in India's primary energy mix to 30%, from 6% now. Modi also wants to cut India's gas imports in half by the end of this decade. Modi's two goals simply aren't compatible. India's LNG Capacity Leap “With [a] limited increase in domestic gas supply, LNG imports will play a major role to cater to this incremental demand,” Singh said. Singh believes India will need an additional 150 million tons per year of LNG import capacity, assuming terminal operations at 80% capacity use. India’s current LNG import capacity is just 42.5 million tons per year with a 19 million ton expansion under way (LNGI Nov.4'20). However, Sukhmal Jain, executive director for gas at state-owned Bharat Petroleum, speaking at the same industry event, asserted that India’s LNG imports may take a hit as the South Asian nation could see massive surge in domestic gas production. He did not give any details to back up his assertion (LNGI May3'21). The Power of Coal Modi has stressed gas consumption in an effort to clear the air. Indian cities are among the most polluted globally. Gas is also seen as an important component in the energy transition equation due to its low carbon footprint. Analysts see gas consumption rising amid demand from the Indian power sector and for use as a cooking fuel in households. In India's power sector, gas competes with cheaper coal and has therefore not been able to find its perch. India’s Federal Power Secretary Alok Kumar said Thursday that discussions are being held with the federal petroleum ministry on flexible gas contracts for gas-fired power plants. He said that in a couple of years gas-fired power stations will be key to grid balancing and peaking requirements as the share of renewables in power generation rises. Rakesh Sharma, New Delhi

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